Biological Nutrient Uptake
Regenerative farming practices emphasize nutrient uptake from soils through natural soil biological cycles. This ecologically based agricultural approach uses microbes and carbon compounds to produce crops naturally rather than relying entirely on highly soluble “salty” nutrient inputs for plant nutrition.

Planting Date and Crop Yields

As May approaches, farmers are gearing up for planting season. Every year, weather seems to play havoc with farmer’s desire to get crops planted timely. Early planted crops generally have a yield advantage over late planted crops.

Breaking Down Crop Residue

For many farmers, crop residue can either be a plus or a minus. Crop residue has many beneficial plant nutrients when it decomposes, but when the residue is slow to break down, it keeps soils cold and wet, and can be difficult to plant.

Increasing Wheat Yield

High wheat prices are causing farmers to strive to optimize wheat yields. High yields are dependent upon maximizing wheat grain kernels per foot and increasing grain weight. High yields come from achieving the correct leaf and shoot numbers, maintaining a green leaf canopy through grain fill, increasing grain numbers/head and increasing grain size.

New Herbicides

Glyphosate has been the #1 herbicide used in the USA since the 1990’s when glyphosate resistant genes (genetically modified) were inserted into crops. Each year, farmers lose about $33 billion dollars in crop losses due to weeds.

Climate is "Unsettled" Science

There is a lot of doom and gloom in this world. Between COVID-19, Ukraine war, and Climate Change; there is not a lot of optimism, especially in our young people. Maybe some data can alleviate some concerns about climate change.

Soil Health Indicators

As spring arrives, farmers should be evaluating their fields for soil health. Since the soil is too wet to farm yet, March and early April is a great time to assess farm fields. For soil health, evaluate fields is in the spring or fall; when the soil is not too hard, dry, or too hot.

Healthy Soils May Reduce Aging

New Penn State University research shows that tilled soils have reduced levels of an essential amino acid called ergothioneine (ERGO). ERGO is an amino acid or vitamin that promotes longevity or reduced aging.

Corn Planter Adjustments

Crop and fertilizer prices are soaring but getting a good crop starts at planting. Planters never seem to break down in the machine shed, but after sitting all winter, problems occur quickly. Planting delays can be quite expensive.

Energized ROI Water

It’s hard to believe that water which is H2O or two atoms of hydrogen combined with one atom of oxygen can have so many different properties. Water is a universal solvent since many crop nutrients easily dissolve in it.

Understanding Soil Phosphorus

Phosphorus (P) fertilizer improves crop yields, so farmers add P fertilizer either every year or only once to corn in corn-soybean rotation. Unfortunately, only about 5-15% of applied P fertilizer is used by plants the year it is applied.

Keeping Nitrogen and Phosphorus Available

Keeping soil nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) available and on the land is every farmer’s goal. If a farmer is paying for fertilizer, they want the plant to use it. From an environmental standpoint, N and P that leaches or runs off is bad for water quality.

Future Agricultural Technology

We have come a long way in agriculture, from using horses to steam engines to gas and diesel tractors, and now to the use of ground and aerial robots. As the human population on earth reaches nearly 10 million people by 2050, our food production is going to have to increase by 70%. Efficient use of nutrient and crop inputs, improving crop genetics, and improving soil health will be needed to improve yields while also addressing environmental concerns.

Tips for Reducing Fertilizer Costs

Farmers are re-evaluating their fertilizer application due to high fertilizer prices. Farmers who regularly applied fertilizer may not need as much or any additional fertilizer if their soil tests are optimal; especially for lime, phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). Most agricultural clay-based soils have around a ton of P and perhaps 40 tons of soil K.

Building Soil Carbon

Most of our agricultural soils are lacking adequate levels of organic matter and good soil health to obtain optimal yields. The lack of humic substances and healthy soil biology reduces the soil’s water holding capacity and the ability to release nutrients when the plants need them, leading to reduced crop quality and lower yields.

Reduced Roundup (Glyphosate) Availability

Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Roundup which is the number one weed killer (herbicide) worldwide. About 90% of major USA crops (corn, soybeans) use glyphosate to kill weeds. China is the biggest manufacturer of glyphosate, but due to supply shortages and higher fuel prices; glyphosate is in short supply and prices are at least 3-4X higher than normal.

Enhancing Crop Growth with Humic Compounds

Humic compounds are organic (carbon) compounds in soil organic matter that enhance plant growth. Humic compounds are composed of fulvic acids and humic acids (highly decomposed SOM) and include many different compounds.

Fulvic Acid: A Miracle Worker

My wife gave me a great Christmas present this year; a book entitled Organic Soil Conditioning by Dr. William Jackson (958 pages), full of facts that are beneficial to agriculture. This information may help farmers cope with higher fertilize prices.

Precious Resources: Soil, Water, and Air

As we celebrate the holidays and look forward to a new year, we have many precious natural resources in this country to appreciate. Our soils, water and air are second to none! We need to keep reminding ourselves in these turbulent times, how great a nation we are and how important our precious resources are to feeding the 7 billion plus people on this earth.

National Farm Bill Discussions

The 2023 National Farm Bill discussions are now beginning. With a new administration; climate change, water quality, and new air emission standards are expected to be a big part of the discussion.

Reducing Tar Spot Disease

Most farmers had a good corn harvest but corn tar spot (Phyllachora maydis) was an issue. Tar spot is a corn disease that came from Central America and seems to be spreading by wind into corn growing states.

Fall Tillage and Soil Compaction

Agricultural field practices seem to be like our national politics, very much divided. Maybe 25% more fields planted to cover crop due to H20 Ohio funds. On the other hand, there appears to be more vertical tillage, chisel plowing and plowing.

Optimizing Nitrogen Fertilizer Applications

Crop prices are high but fertilizer prices are rocketing even higher. Farmers are looking for ways to lower their fertilizer bill, especially on nitrogen (N). Almost all N is processed by soil microbes before being plant absorbed.

Value of Manure

Farmers are seeing fertilizer prices soar in 2021 and 2022. Extreme weather, plant shutdowns, sanctions, and rising fuel and energy costs, and high grain prices are driving fertilizer prices higher. Fertilizer prices are at their highest level in more than a decade.

Agricultural Microbiological Products

This of the time of year when farmers are considering options for buying seed, fertilizer, various pesticides (herbicides, fungicides, insecticides) and other products for next year’s crop. Now farmers may want to consider buying agricultural microbiology products which require even more specialized knowledge.

Biological Buffering of Nitrogen

As crop prices increase, generally fertilizer prices increase as well. Farmers who are booking nitrogen (N) for next year are paying at least twice as much. N use efficiency is critical as farmers try to cut back on N usage while attempting to maintain crop yields.

Cover Crop Dividends

Farmers had several state and national opportunities to receive payments or premiums from planting cover crops. Some deadlines are past, others have been extended. Farmers may want to review some of these programs and look at the current benefits from planting cover crops yet this fall.

Plant Health Pyramid

Soil health and plant health are closely related. Most pest issues are due to inadequate plant nutrition and poor plant health. Most weeds thrive where at least one plant nutrient is lacking. Healthy plants have adequate nutrients levels to repel insects and disease organisms.

Transitioning to Soil Health

Farmers in a conventional tilled corn-soybean rotation often ask how they can improve soil health. It is not easy but also not impossible. Improving soil health starts with evaluating your soil and then fixing those problems.

Reading Weeds

Weeds often tell a story about how a farm is managed. Most weeds grow really well in soils low in calcium with low humus. Often potassium and/or magnesium levels are high, but not always. Many weeds act as collectors of minerals that are deficient in the soil.

Corn Brace Roost: What Do They Tell Us?

The 2021 crop year has been quite variable. A dry winter/spring followed by periods of excess rain and dry hot weather has caused considerable plant stress. Corn plants typically give us many tell-tale signs of soil conditions.

Improving Photosynthetic Potential

Farmers do not often think about how their management practices can influence the rate of photosynthesis. Photosynthesis has always been assumed to be constant, but it is not.

Soybean Pests

Many pests and diseases are rearing their ugly head this year. Fall armyworm, aphids, soybean cyst nematodes (SCN), sudden death syndrome (SDS), and white mold are common problems. Weather and management play a key role in the severity of these pests.

Using Electricity to Assess Soil Health

A new break-through in soil health testing has occurred which may allow researchers and farmers to instantly measure soil health and microbial activity. A group of Washington State University researchers are using small electrical currents to assess soil microbes and soil health impacts.

Fall Slug and Vole Control

Slugs and voles are becoming major problems on some farms. One farmer lost 80 acres to slugs, another 40 acres. Slugs and voles prefer moist, wet conditions, slow crop growth, and lush vegetation.

Overwintering Cover Crops & Small Grains

The H2O Ohio program is a state conservation program that pays farmers for conservation practices. It includes overwintering cover crops and a small grains program to help keep nutrients out of Lake Erie.

Understanding Genes and the Environment

Two new scientific articles help explain how DNA, which makes up our genes, and the environment work together to express those genes. It was thought that humans had over 3 million genes, but now estimate that it closer to 300,000 genes.

Manure Incorporation with the Ohio H20 Program

Livestock farmers have an opportunity to be apart of the Ohio H20 program on manure incorporation. This program pays famers for three years to apply manure to a cover crop or a growing crop in the summer or early fall. The program is designed to encourage farmers to tie up nitrogen or phosphorus in manure to decrease the risk of manure or nutrient runoff into surface water.

Monitoring Plant Health

Farmers are often looking for a quick way to measure plant health. Soil and tissue tests are commonly used, but the results may take several days or even weeks in some cases. This can be too late on a growing crop.

Corn Fungicide Use

With humid wet weather occurring comes the concern for corn fungal diseases. The goal of using fungicides is to optimize plant health and keep your corn crop alive to optimize crop yield. Healthy biologically active soils should be your foundation for healthy plants and yields.

Double Crop Soybeans or Cover Crops

Approaching mid-July, some farmers are still debating whether to plant soybeans after wheat harvest. Double crop soybeans are risky but high soybean prices, early summer planting and good weather favor farmers taking the risk. As summer progresses, the risk of failure increases on double crop soybeans.

Controlling Poisonous Weeds

Some weeds are worse than others, especially poisonous weeds that are dangerous to humans, livestock, and pets! While attending several summer parties in Northwest Ohio (graduation, July 4 the, picnics), several poisonous noxious weeds were observed this year. Poison hemlock (Conium maculatum L.) and wild parsnip (Pastinaca sativa L.) are invasive non-native weeds often found growing together in Ohio.

Improving Water Infiltration and Permeability

Our summer rains have been quite variable. Some rains have been hard and fast while others have been slow and steady. About 10 days ago, “million-dollar” rain occurred; a slow steady all day 1” total rain. Million-dollar rains are called that because farmers assume that 100% of that precipitation can be utilized to increase crop yields.

Nutrient Deficiencie and Slug Issues

Summer has officially arrived and nutrient deficiencies and pests are now a problem. Healthy plants have less problems with disease and insects, so optimum plant nutrition is important for keeping pests at bay and optimizing crop yields.

Cover Crops Impact Soil Health

Planting cover crops is becoming a common practice, however; producers may not be sure what is the impact of cover crops on soil health. Andy Clark (USDA-SARE, 2015) outlines key ways that cover crops lead to better soil health and potentially better farm profits.

Planting Issues

Every year brings unique pest challenges. Many early planted fields have been replanted or are in the process of being replanted. This year, soybeans seem to be more at risk than corn and the culprit is seed corn maggot.

Fertilizing Crops with Nitrogen

June is a busy month as farmers finish up planting, fertilizing, and spraying crops. For corn nitrogen (N), farmers have several options. Many farmers side-dress anhydrous nitrogen to corn. Anhydrous is a concentrated source of nitrogen, 82% by weight while liquid forms of N can be 28-32% or as high as 46%. Ammonia is usually the most economical, however, since it is stored at low temperatures (-28OF) with internal pressures of 250 psi , its more dangerous to apply.

Seeding Cover Crops after Wheat

Wheat will be maturing early due to 90OF temperatures. Wheat grows best under cooler temperatures (less than 800F) and moist soil conditions. Wheat stands look great, but starts to die with hot dry temperatures, resulting in lower wheat yields.

Crimping Cover Crops

Cover crops outcompete many troublesome weeds but cover crop needs to be terminated. Most farmers kill cover crop with herbicides but crimper crop rollers can terminate naturally. Selecting the right cover crop to crimp and timing are critical for getting good crimping results.

Carbon Markets are Promoting Healthy Soils

No-till farming started in the 1960’s and gained steam in the 1970’s (fuel crisis) and the 1980’s (agricultural financial crisis). Glyphosate (Roundup ®) and genetically modified organisms (GMO) innovations also increased no-till farming.

Maximizing Crop Yields

High grain prices for grain crops make any planting mistakes extremely costly. Most corn yield is determined within the first several weeks. Soybeans are a little more forgiving but any type of environmental (weather) or biological (weeds, disease, insects) stress can impact yields.

Controlling Corn and Soybean Pests

Controlling pests of corn and soybeans can be difficult. Most farmers rely on seed treatments and broad-spectrum insecticides which terminate the pests but also takes out the beneficial natural predators.

GMO vs. Non-GMO Crops

Ohio is one of the leading states planting Non-GMO crops. GMO stands for genetically modified organisms. About 92% of the US corn and 94% of soybeans in 2018 were genetically modified for weeds, insects, or drought tolerance. Japan and many European countries are demanding crops that are Non-GMO, so farmers can pick up premiums by growing these crops.

Weather and Spring Planting Issues

The warm weather this past week primed many farmers for spring planting. Government weather forecasting had gotten better but the results are still variable. According to the NOAA, the year 2020 was a year of extremes, with record temperatures, dry overall conditions, and forest fires in the West.

Spring Planting Decisions

Last year, spring planting occurred during a cold dry spring, while this year conditions are warm and dry. Farmers have several planting options, depending on whether they are conventional tillage farmers or planting no-till with cover crops.

Healthy Plants Produce Healthy Soils

Spring is a time for new growth by plants, animals, and microbes. As temperatures warm, microbial populations double with every ten degrees Fahrenheit increase in soil temperature. As days get longer, the sun’s energy is captured by plants and that energy feeds microbes and almost all living organisms on earth.

Pollinators for Birds, Bees and Butterflies

The birds are chirping while bees and butterflies will soon be flying as spring starts to blossom. Pollinators are an important food source for over 4,000 species of wild native bees and 725 species of butterflies in North America.

Building Soil Carbon

There is renewed interest in paying farmers to sequester soil carbon by building soil organic matter (SOM) levels. Building soil carbon is dependent upon temperature, moisture, vegetation, tillage, soil texture, crop rotation, and microbial activity.

Improving Drainage with Cover Crops

As the weather warms and snow melts, many fields are saturated with standing water. While cover crops may improve drainage, they are not a cure all. A farmer with no tile or subsurface drainage once asked why the cover crop’s he planted did not improve his drainage.

Making CRP Productive Cropland

Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres are fields that private landowners put into conservation for 10-15 years to reduce soil erosion, improve water quality, and/or to improve the environment. Landowners are paid an annual government rental payment in exchange for keeping acres in permanent vegetation.

Manure and Cover Crops

Many livestock farmers who are being compensated by the H2O Ohio program may be looking  for guidance on planting cover crops. NRCS Appendix A (Cover Crops) is your best guide for  cover crop seeding methods, planting dates, and planting rates. Contact your local Soil and  Water Conservation office or local NRCS representative for additional questions.

Improving Fertilizer Availability

As fertilizer costs increase, farmers want to either lower their fertilizer costs or find ways to conserve soil nutrients. Cover crops can help do both things. Legumes and clovers sequester nitrogen (N) and grasses and radishes make phosphorus (P) more available.

Is Early Maturing Corn Profitable
Many farmers try to maximize yields but is that always the most profitable? Planting early season corn and soybean varieties allows farmers time to plant a cover crop which can add carbon and soil organic matter, protect your soil from erosion, and improve water quality.

Frost Seeding Cover Crops
Frost seeding is broadcasting cover crop seed over a frozen soil surface and letting the freezing and thawing incorporate the seed into the soil profile. For hard seed (seed that is difficult to germinate), the freezing and thawing may break down the seed coat and improve germination.

Soil Health Terms

Soil health can be hard to understand if you do not know the lingo or terminology. Talking to a doctor, sometimes you need a dictionary to know what they are saying. Heres a short primer on soil health terms. Soil health is defined by the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) as the continued capacity of soil to function as a vital living ecosystem that sustains plants, animals, and humans.

Maximizing Factors that Influence Crop Yield

Farmers consistently attempt to increase crop yields but may not know which factors are important. Yield is influenced by climate and temperature, plant and water management, and soil nutrient management factors.

Is Soil Health Real

Sceptics of soil health abound in agriculture. After World War II, farmers became reliant on inorganic fertilizer to improve crop yields. Soil organic matter (SOM) levels were still high, so an investment in fertilizer gave big yields.

Inter-Seeding Cover Crops into Corn

Getting a good cover crop stand after harvest can be difficult, so farmers are inter-seeding cover crops early into standing corn. Benefits include erosion control, extra nitrogen from legumes or clovers, using grasses as nitrogen scavengers, weed suppression, and livestock forage (grazed or hayed).

Bio Stimulants

Bio-stimulants include both bacterial and fungal inoculants, various types of compost, and organic adjuvants that stimulate plant growth and improve yield. Farmers have been using bacteria inoculants containing Rhizobia bacteria on legumes and clovers like soybeans, alfalfa, and red clover for many years.

Using Humic Substances to Imporve Plant Growth

Soil organic matter (SOM) is carbon compounds from living organisms are decomposing or the dead bodies of microbes, small animals, and plants. A fertile soil has between 2% (sandy soil) to 8% (clay soil) SOM which contains essential minerals needed for plant growth. Humic (carbon) substances are vital to soil fertility and plant nutrition.

Cover Crops Benefit Wildlife

Cover crops provide many species of wildlife with food and shelter. If you want to maximize wildlife benefits, avoid cover crop monocultures. Cover crop diversity and interspersion are keys to improving wildlife habitat.

Healthy Soils Suppress Pets

Farmers who improve soil health increase the amount of soil carbon being stored, and recycled. The increased carbon flow increases microbial numbers and efficiency leading to improved plant photosynthesis. The entire soil ecosystem functions at a higher level.

Stop Tilling to Improve Soil Health

No-tilling corn is a difficult transition for most farmers. When farmers start no-tilling, the transition time may last 3-7 years and corn yields may often be reduced during that transition period. An alternative is to strip till the soil which gives a farmer some of the benefits of each tillage system.

Reducing Soil Compaction

Indian Summer is here with warmer temperatures and some sunlight as farmers try to finish up harvest. A lot of field work is being done including deep and shallow tillage.

Corn and Soybean Cover Crop Management

As fall harvest progresses, farmers are looking ahead to next years crop. Corn and soybean farmers utilizing no-till and/or cover crops may need to make different management decisions than conventional tillage farmers.

The Smell of Rain and Microbes

After a dry summer, the smell of rain is often refreshing but maybe a little less so to farmers at harvest time! People can often sense it is going to rain. This pre-rain smell comes from ozone formed when oxygen (O2) in the atmosphere is spilt through electrical charges in the clouds to form ozone (O3).

Breaking Through to the Root Cause of Compacted Soil

Jim Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services discusses how to use soil health and cover crops to improve soil structure and reduce soil compaction.

Soil Health Indicators

How do I know if my soil is healthy and what are indicators of soil health ? Plants thrive in healthy soils and are not overtaken by pests (weeds, insects, diseases).

Planting Cover Crops Late

As harvest progresses, its not too late to plant cover crops, but the options are becoming more limited. Most cover crops need a minimum of 60 days of growth before cold freezing winter weather limits growth.

Ohio No-Till News

The Ohio No-till Conference will be held December 3rd at the Der Dutchman in Plain City.  Jim Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services will speak for 30 minutes on Vole Control.  In person participation is limited to 150 people, but the program will also be offered virtually on the web.

Reducing Nitrogen Runoff

After a dry summer, reduced corn yields generally results in excess soil nitrogen (N) and excess N leaching in the fall, winter, and spring. Most farmers fertilize for maximum yields and hope that the weather cooperates.

Maximizing Wheat Production

Achieving higher grain yields requires a combination of good genetics with a good environment. The full genetic potential of many crops is severely limited by poor environmental conditions especially due to poor soil structure, too much or too little water, and the availability of essential nutrients.

Cover Crop Economics

Many farmers ask what is the value of planting cover crops on my farm? A common question with many answers. Cover crops have many benefits and uses, so the answer varies by farm field and farming operation.

Vegetation and Reproductive Plant Growth

As summer winds down, gardeners and farmers are harvesting their crops. The dry weather has reduced yields but crops have a higher sugar content due to the concentration of plant sugars from less water.

Sowing Cover Crops

Late summer and early fall (August 1-Mid-September) is a great time to sow cover crops. Methods include broadcasting with an airplane, helicopter, high boy applicator, various types of spreaders OR seed incorporation with light tillage or a drill.

Lenawee Center for Excellence (Adrian MI) Twilight Tour September 2, 2020

The 2020 Field Day for the Lenawee Center for Excellence in Adrian bas been replaced with a twilight tour Sept. 2, from 4:30 p.m. and run until 7:30. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the tour will limit attendance to 100 participants.

Promoting Beneficial Insects

There are numerous beneficial insect species in the USA including 91,000 species of beetles (Order:Coleoptera), and many Hymenoptera or species of wasp (4,000), bees (4,000), and ants (1,000).

Vole Alert

Farmers are reporting crop damage from voles (field mice). Oval bare patches and burrows in soybeans or wheat fields indicate voles are present. Vole populations peak every 2-5 years.

Soil Health Principles
There are several natural principles that apply to implementing good soil health. These include minimizing soil disturbance, and maximizing the following: surface cover, live roots, and biological soil diversity.

Late Summer Early Fall Cover Crops
Late summer and early fall are great opportunities to plant cover crops and improve soil health. Days are shorter, but with ample sunshine left and a little rain, cover crops grow quickly. Both summer annuals which die with the first frost and winter annuals can be grown.

What is Soil Health
Soil Health is a term that everyone seems to be confused about or have their own opinion. Soil health is about three things: soil organic matter (SOM), soil microbes and organisms, and plants. Good soil and soil health are dependent upon the interaction of these three things.

Phases of Water
Rainfall has been quite variable with some crops looking good while other areas still need rain. Corn yields will vary this year depending upon emergence, corn stands, and the weather. As Joe Nester says: Do not over estimate your corn yields.

Improving Soil Moisture
Soils are water reservoirs for crop production . Dr. Elwyn Taylor, Iowa State University climatologist reports that 200-bushel corn needs 19-23 inches of water during the growing season.

Wheat Straw and Cover Crops
As wheat and barley harvest progresses, farmers often ask what should they do with wheat straw? Should I keep the straw on the field to build soil organic matter (SOM) or should I sell it? What is the value of the wheat straw and how many nutrients are being lost? Does straw residue hurt the next crop?

Forage Cover Crops
Planting forage cover crops can be a beneficial food source and a place to apply manure. Grass cover crops like sorghum, Sudan, Sorghum Sudan, cereal rye, annual ryegrass, millets, Teff, and oats are great forages that build organic matter, tie up manure nutrients, keep the soil from eroding, improve soil structure and still make great feed.

Calcium and Manganese Deficiency
Calcium and Manganese are two soil abundant elements that are often not as plant available and may be deficient in plant cells. Calcium is used in cell wall membranes and often becomes limiting during critical pollination periods when cells are rapidly dividing.

Cover Crops After Wheat
Wheat harvest may start in 3-4 weeks and it is time to order cover crop seed. A long growing season after wheat allows for many options. Warm season cover crops grow in the summer but die with the first frost while cool season species generally survive the winter.

Earthworms Enhance Soil Tilth and Fertility
Every farmer loves to see earthworms in their soil because it indicates good soil health and productivity. Earthworms, cover crops, and no-till together are a great way to improve your soil.

Emerging Planting and Soil Issues
The 2020 planting season has been mostly cold and dry, allowing most farmers to get crops planted, with rain and warmer temperatures now expected.

Crimping Cover Crops
Crop roller crimping has become a common way to mechanically terminate cover crops. Crimpers are used to kill grass cover crops (cereal rye, barley, wheat, sorghum, Sudan, pearl millet), vetches (hairy and common), annual clovers (crimson and balansa),  buckwheat, and multi-species cover crops.

Video of New 30 ft narrow transport  proto type  8 ft 6 transport

Soil Inoculants
As planting season starts, some farmers are applying soil bio-inoculants to promote improved plant growth. Dr. Jay Johnson (retired), former OSU fertility specialist, touted inoculating soybeans with Rhizobium bacteria yearly to increase soybeans yields 1-2 bushels.

How Selenium and healthy food can reduce COVID virus infection and/or spread up recovery

Glyphosate's impact on Pseudomonas, a beneficial Calcium and Maganese Deficiencysoil bacterium

Rhizophagy: Rhizophagy Cycle: An Oxidative Process in Plants for Nutrient Extraction from Symbiotic Microbes
Rhizophagy is how plant roots absorb soil nutrients from beneficial soil microbes (bacteria and fungi).  In some cases, whole amino acids and proteins can be absorbed by the plant root by devouring the bacteria and fungi.  This fascinating new information changes how agronomist view plant nutrition.

Pest Management: Endophytic microbes and their potential applications in crop management
Endophytic microbes are beneficial plan bacteria and fungi that help plants prevent pests by improving plant nutrition and improving soil health which repels most pest.

How and When to Plant No-till

Planting no-till can be tricky and scary! Successful no-till depends on having fully functioning healthy soils and efficient nitrogen (N) recycling.

Corn Planting & Soil Temperatures

Planting corn in cold wet soils results in reduced yields. When the soil temperature reaches 50o F and is rising (with ideal moisture), that is the optimal time to plant corn.

Planter setup

Spring planting season is almost here and farmers are making final planter adjustments. Planter setup is critical because The sins of planting will haunt you all season according to Ozzie Luetkemeier, Purdue farm Manager.

Controlling Slugs
Slugs and voles (field mice) population increase during mild winters and flourish during wet springs, especially in no-till or cover crop fields. Scouting shows that slug populations are increasing and may be an issue this year. Slug control depends upon understanding slug biology, scouting, natural predators, and effective cultural practices.
vole babies
vole in meadow
Controlling Voles: Field Mice
Voles: Field mice are really rebounding and we are expecting a lot of crop damage this year.  This article is timely because  now is the time to scout for voles!
Vole preferences
Voles prefer the most high protein and low fiber cover crops like red clover >alfalfa>hairy vetch>soybeans.  They dislike the most canola>barley>cereal rye>Sorghum Sudan>Turnips. Low growing cover crops offer less shelter than high growing cover crops.  Mowing cover crops or planting cover crops with at least 50% winter kill may help reduce vole populations.

Making No-till Corn Succeed

Adapting to Wet Spring Planting

Soil Microbes

Strip-till advantages

Compaction or Poor Soil Structure

Reducing Phosphorus Runoff

Adapting to Extreme Weather

Soil Nutrients Fact Sheet

PANTA Jim Hoorman Flyer Feb 2020

The 24th class of No-Till Innovators have supported the adoption of cover crops, better nutrient management, improved soil health and timely, educational events and opportunities. Video / Article

Biology of Soil Compaction:  Describes how and why soils compact and what farm management practices can be implement to reduce soil compaction, and create healthy soils that are profitable and environmentally sound.

Courting the Two M's: In depth information about Metarhizium fungi (Insect parasites and Nitrogen enhancers) and Mycorrhizae fungi (P and micronutrient uptake, pest suppression, etc.) impact on creating healthy soils.

When Weeds Talk
Food Nutrient Density
Cover Crop Herbicide CarryOver
Prescription Tillage Technology (PTT): STP Disc Blades Contact Hoorman Soil Health Services: 419-421-7255
Paying for Carbon Credits
Ohio Corn Performance Test: Northwest Ohio / South and Southwest Ohio
Conservation Best Management Practices
Biology of Soil Compaction Leading Edge
Cover Crop Recipe: Before SoyBeans MCCC
Cover Crop Recipe: Before Corn MCCC
Cover Crop Economics
Corn Stalks in Surface Water
Compaction Problems in early planted corn
Flooding Compaction and Carbon Calculations
4Rs: Right Rate, Source, Place, & Time
25 Tips to Manage and Grow Cover Crops
Adapting Agriculture to Extreme Weather
Cover Crop Benefits
Cereal rye in soybeans and corn
Corn Fertilizer Micronutrients
Corn Myths
No-till Corn Planting
Corn Stalks Issues Part 1
Corn Stalk Solutions Part 2
Cover Crops after wheat
Fall planted cover crops
Blanchard River Flooding
Dealing with Harmful Algal Blooms (HAB) and Dissolved Reactive Phosphorus (DRP)
No-till and Soil Compaction Struggles
Phosphorus Best Management Practices and Lime
Palmer Amaranth
Palmer Amaranth and Waterhemp
Phosphorus Problems: Part 1
Phosphorus Solutions: Part 2
Corn Silage Pricing
Cereal Rye as a Feed
Soil Compaction Remedies
Soil Health Key Points
Soil Microbes Recycling Nutrients
Interpreting Soil Tests
Sorghum Sudan
Spring Corn Nitrogen
Strip Tillage Benefits
Ecological Farming (ECO Farming)
Soil Health
Using Cover Crops to Reduce Soil Compaction

Environmental Impacts of Cover Crops - Jim Hoorman
2 farmers in field

Photos from Randall Reeder at Nathan Brause farm. 
We are being interviewed by Matt Reese. 
Nathan Brause is the Ohio No-till Council Innovative Farmer of the Year. I am being interviewed for the National No-till Educator of the Year Award.
farm tillage
Tillage is Like a Drug Addiction

Civilization and the world population started increasing when humans began growing their own food to feed themselves and their livestock rather than pursuing and hunting wild game. The first human cultivation of crops probably was no-till, requiring very little cultivation.  The first crops for human consumption may have been with a stick to create a hole and a seed bed for a kernel of grain.  With time, our early human ancestors used livestock to speed up the planting of crops.
crop field
Are USA Soil Erosion Rates Sustainable?

Soil is a gift of life and the basis for modern civilization.  The soil provides humans with food, fiber for clothes, shelter (wood, bricks, metals), foundation for our buildings, medicines, and a place to live and play. 
Discovering How Cover Crops Impact Cropland Habitat for Pests: Voles, Slugs, and Other Pests

Pest problems like voles, slugs and army worms tend to be cyclical in nature and can have dramatic impacts when there's an outbreak. Understanding the role that cover crops and no-till can play in creating the conditions for these pest to thrive can help producers make management decisions. This webinar is first of a two-part series dealing with managing cover crops and tillage to minimize pest problems.

Managing Cover Crops and No-till to Reduce Pest Problems (part 2)